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Chaos Field Review

Developer: MileStone Publisher: Q3 Entertainment
Release Date: December 13, 2005 Also On: Dreamcast

The space shooter genre, sadly, is all but dead. Even the best space shooters out there, games such as Ikaruga, rarely get the acclaim that they deserve from the mainstream gaming public. And yet, there is a contingent of gamers out there who still enjoy these games, and for fans of the GCN within this contingent, they finally have a game other than Ikaruga with which to express it. While Chaos Field is not as stellar of a game as Ikaruga was, it is still a game worthy of the respect of those who enjoy games within the genre.

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Graphically, Chaos Field looks pretty good. Granted, the graphics aren’t loaded with detail, but the color schemes are appropriate, and everything looks good and animates well. The game also moves at a fast pace without slowdown even when there are a lot of bullets on the screen. The music and the sound effects in this game are competent, but they aren’t the type of thing you’ll play the game just to hear. Overall, the aesthetics of this game are done more than well enough to prevent them from distracting from the experience.

So far as gameplay goes, Chaos Field is not your typical vertical space shooter. There are two modes of play, arcade and original, but the differences between the two are minimal. Regardless of which mode you choose, the game plays out more like a series of boss battles than a normal space shooter. The game is broken down into five phases, each containing a couple mini-bosses and then a main boss. Like in Ikaruga, each boss has a time limit, meaning that you get a bonus for any time left over after you kill a boss, but you can defeat a boss by simply outlasting it.

So far as ship capabilities, this game is a little more diverse than Ikaruga. There are three different ships that you can choose from. You can choose a different ship for each credit, so you do not need to stick with the same one for your entire play through if you don’t desire to. Of the three ships, one excels in attack power and one in speed and maneuverability, with the third being a more balanced ship.

Each ship has a different forward attack pattern, but each is capable of attacking. Each ship is also equipped with a beam sword that can destroy some types of bullets, and a special defensive move that varies depending on which ship you’re using. Between the special move and the attack style, in addition to the aforementioned power and speed differences, you will find that you can add replay value to the game by trying to get through it with each of the ships, something drastically needed because the game is only five phases long.

That’s not to say that this game is easy, only that it’s short. Despite the lack of a polarity difference like in Ikaruga, you’ll find that there are just as many bullets on the screen in this game as in that one much of the time. So this game is certainly challenging enough for any fan of space shooters who has played Ikaruga. The game also has three difficulty levels, and you even have the option to set how many times a ship needs to be hit to be destroyed between one and five. So there is enough in this game to keep the true space shooter fan busy for a while.

The main thing separating this game from its peers though is the chaos field. Essentially, the ship can pass between normal space (called the order field) and the chaos field at any time, although it cannot switch too rapidly, as the ability to switch needs to recharge every time it is used. The chaos field has even more bullets than the order field, but attacks are more powerful there, and your ship is also invincible when switching fields.

So, with all of this stuff going for it, Chaos Field is a game well worth the time of any fan of the space shooter genre, even if it isn’t as good of a game as Ikaruga. The only glaring weaknesses it has are the lack of levels full of normal-sized ships and the lack of a multiplayer, but what the game does do it does well enough to make up for those weaknesses. I heavily recommend that fans of the space shooter genre give this game a try, and not just because it and Ikaruga are the only games of its kind this generation on the GCN.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide